A Recap Of The Skullgirl Devs Lab Zero Games’ Drama

Lab Zero Games, a studio known for its stylish-looking games, has a bit of a controversy the past few months. See, its owner recently fired the studio’s entire staff last week following a series of senior employee departures.

Here’s a breakdown, in case you missed out on the recent news:

  • Lab Zero Games created hit fighting game Skullgirls and last year’s RPG Indivisible. All was fine.
  • The company was at one point meant to transition from being wholly owned by co-founder Mike Zaimont to sharing equity with its long-standing employees like Jonathan “Persona” Kim, Brian “EU03” Jun, and Jessica Allen.
  • A deal couldn’t be reached, so Zaimont dissolved the board and assumed complete control of Lab Zero. We should also stress that Zaimont is known for his inappropriate behaviour and poor attitude when treating his employees and staff.
  • This made seven of its integral members to publicly resign. This left Lab Zero with 11 employees.
  • Zaimont, who knew that the company cannot continue the way it is with the huge senior employee hole, had to lay off the rest of Lab Zero’s employees because the company was no longer able to meet payroll obligations (via Kotaku). Here’s a quote from him:

“It is not a decision I made lightly. I personally know how hard it can be to find employment in a poorly performing economy, but we have more debt than cash, and the last thing I would ever do is not pay my hard-working colleagues or our partners for their work. We are exploring all funding options in hopes of bringing those team members back, but right now that’s the reality.”

  • At this point in time, there is no word on how the severance agreement between Lab Zero’s former workers work. Zaimont did mention to be on a lookout for additional severance email of sorts.
  • What happens to Skullgirls and Skullgirls Mobile? The game will be kept afloat and alive since Autumn Games own the property and developer Hidden Variable Studios handles the mobile game. Skullgirls will be getting new content in 2021, including a new character called Annie.

That’s pretty much it for now. It’s sad that a prominent indie studio had to go out this way.

Author: Mr Toffee

Mr Toffee is a writer, editor, & all-around video game words guy for 9 years, give or take. He also did some story for games like Chain Chronicle and some podcasting on the side. Likes: bacon, Metallica, jogging. Hates: raccoons, oblivion. Twitter: @MrToffee

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